Monday, 6 September 2010

The More Excellent Way - Part 2

1Cointhians 13: 1 - 3, 13

There are three Greek words that have been translated as love, but they actually mean three different kinds of love, they are Eros, Phileo and Agape.

EROS

Eros is the kind of love that exists between man and wife, it is sexual in nature. What happens in a marriage relationship is that the man’s first of all sees the woman, gets attracted and desires to share his life with her because she is beautiful, well built, and looks sexy. On the other hand, the woman wants him too may be because he is tall, masculine, handsome, and looking like the real man, and like he can protect her. Eros or sexual attraction is okay, it is also a gift from God and is very necessary in making a good marriage but it is not the excellent way, it is not the God kind of love. I suggest that nobody should want to marry somebody if he or she does not feel sexually attracted to the person.

PHILEO

Phileo is the kind of love that exists in a family. It is the kind of love that exists between parents and children, between brethren, between the children and their uncles or aunties, and so on. Family members care for each other, and are willing to provide, support and protect each other because they are related, they are a family. It is the family connection that is the motivation. With Phileo, an outsider cannot enjoy what an insider can get. Phileo is good, it is good to have a special place in your heart for members of your family but phileo is not the excellent way.

AGAPE

This is the kind of love that originates from God. It is actually the nature of God. That was the kind of love that God demonstrated when he gave Jesus. John 3:16; that was the kind of love Jesus demonstrated when he gave his life for humanity. It is eternal and unconditional in nature. Agape is the kind of love God commanded us to show to one another.

“A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13: 34)

Agape does not love somebody because there is a relationship that connects them together either sexual or biological. Agape loves without a string attached. Agape is never mindful of nationality, colour, status, behavioural flaws or short comings, and it is never self centred. It is the unconditional love, the more excellent way, the God kind of love. Jn. 3: 16; Rom. 5: 8.

The characteristics of agape

Agape has no deception (without dissimulation). Rom. 12: 9. In other words, it is not facial or faked. It comes from the heart. It is not the kind that smiles at you when you are there but says something else about you when you are gone. There is no hypocrisy in Agape.

Agape is pure 1Peter 1: 22. It never wishes anybody evil, it does not think evil of anybody and it is not selfish. For instance, Agape does not go into a relationship just for fun, for sex, or for wealth. It is pure. There is Eros in every marriage, but as Christians, Eros should not be the only factor in our relationships. In marriage there must be a combination of both Agape and Eros. I have heard people say about their spouses, that ‘I am only obeying God marrying this person, I really don’t particularly like or feel attracted to him or her. Don’t know what they think about God, but He never gives to anybody what he will not appreciate. He says us too not to cast our pearls to swine because they are not going to value it.

Agape is fervent 1Peter 1: 22. In other words, Agape loves with intensity, passionately, and dedicatedly. Agape can be persistent; it never gives up on people. Agape loves no matter what happens. Heb.13: 1; Prov. 17:17.Sometimes the people you love the most are the ones that will hurt you more and some may never even respond to your love. Some of them may even be blunt enough to tell you how disgusting they think you are, and that they don’t need you, and how they hate you and wish you were dead. But agape never gives up. It keeps on loving despite all because it is fervent (ardent).

Agape is fearless 1John. 4: 18. If you love somebody with agape, you will not live with him in fear, I mean you will not nurse the idea that one day he is going to hurt you. In Agape, You will never live with the person in fear because there is no fear in agape. In agape, you will not have the fear of losing him to somebody else because there is security in the agape love. You will not be afraid of what people will think about your relationship with him, so your commitment to each other will not be a secret.

Agape is selfless. 1Cor. 13: 4 - 6; Jn. 15: 13. It places others first, it seeks to protect the interest of others; it seeks to make others happy even at the expense of self. Agape makes sacrifices for others.

Agape does no ill to its neighbour. Romans 13: 10. For instance, (a) agape will not say or do anything that will harm or hurt another person; it will not destroy another man’s image or reputation. (b) Agape will not think evil of anyone and will not wish any one evil. (c) Agape will not defraud or take advantage of any one. (d) Agape will not stand in the way of another man’s success and will not fail to contribute what is in its power towards the success of another, it does not withhold a blessing due unto somebody. Agape does no ill to its neighbour.

Agape forgives. Proverbs 10: 12; 1Corinthians 13: 5. If your love for somebody is the God kind of love, you will find nothing too great to forgive him; you won’t hold grudges, malice, or bitterness against him no matter what he has done against you. Agape has the power to let go anything that is hurting, it has the power to behold an enemy and treat him with kindness.

Agape is a giver. John. 3:16; 1John. 3: 16 - 19, and it gives lavishly. Agape is extravagant in giving and it gives even to an enemy. Romans 12: 9; 20, 21. Actually agape treats no one as an enemy. It deals with an enemy as it would to a friend. Matthew. 5: 43 - 48; Ephesians. 6: 12; 1Peteter 5: 8.

Agape serves. Galatians 5: 13. It does not compete to be better than its neighbour; instead, it paves way for its neighbour to rise to success. John 15: 13. The servant spirit is about living your life for others and working to make other people comfortable and happy in life. Agape seeks to make its neighbour a better person; it does not strive to be better than its neighbour. We are called to be servants to all people; we all can be our best. Matthew 20: 20 - 25. To be a true servant, you must deal with the following. Firstly, you must get rid of self centeredness. Secondly you must get rid of your competitive attitude; I mean the one that will not mind pulling down another in order to rise. And thirdly, you’ve got to consider yourself of no reputation Philippians 2: 6, 7. E.g., your educational qualification, social status, family name or back ground must be sacrificed to Christ. You must be able to reach out to people irrespective of their background and no matter what you have achieved.

Agape is an intercessor. If you’ve got agape in your heart, it will not make you feel comfortable if your neighbour is not what you believe God wants him to be and you will want to stand in the gap to see him become.

The bible says in 2Corinthians 13: 5. To examine ourselves and see whether we are still in the faith. The yard stick for that examination is love. If love is not established in your heart, your relationship with the Lord is destroyed, and your faith is dead 1John 4: 7 - 12, 20, and 21. Without love, your prayers will be hindered. The very nature of God is love, so when you allow the love of God to feel your heart, you will be walking in the nature of God. When God says to be like me, or be followers of God as dear children, all He is saying is that you walk in love. Ephesians 5: 1, 2; 1John 4: 7, 8; Matthew 5: 46 - 48. As you walk in love, you act like God. If you walk in his nature, you will not walk in defeat, you will walk in victory. When you are walking in love, you are walk in freedom 1John 3: 14, 15. In the way of love, you cannot be overcome by satan, no demon can afflict you and no demon can prevail against you. Rom. 12: 20, 21. In love, you are covered in God’s fullness, and his eternal life works in you. So you can’t be destroyed the enemy. Ephesians 3: 17 - 19. And you can’t be under the bondage of fear because perfect love cast out fear.